What do you do when things accumulate? Unless you happen to be the world’s cleanest person or you hire a maid service to come to your house, you know what I’m talking about. The laundry easily accumulates and you never feel caught up. There always seems to be an accumulation of dishes in the sink - especially after dinner. No matter how many times you take out the trash, it’s not uncommon to find it overflowing. Well, when those sorts of things accumulate we know what to do. Throw the clothes in the washer. Scrub the pots and pans. And walk the trash to the curb.
But laundry, trash, and dishes aren’t the only things that accumulate. Think about your sin. Think about your transgressions. Picture with me for a moment, that over the course of your life sin has piled up on sin. Imagine that your sin, over the years, has amassed into something of a personal landfill. It’s dense. It’s massive. It’s weighty. And it stinks. It hangs over your head with the potential to crush you at any moment. Yet, the mercy of God is the only thing keeping it at bay. “If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared” (Psalm 130:3-4).
What do you do when your sin accumulates? We pick up in Nehemiah 9 this morning. And in this scene the people of God begin to rehearse the accumulation of their sin. It’s been about three and half weeks since the revival at the Water Gate. In chapter 8 there was a recovery of what it meant to be a people under the Word. The Book of the Law was opened for the first time in years. They gave their full attention to it. And as the Word was read, explained, and applied, they wept. That’s what happens. When you and I begin to take the Word seriously. When we learn to interpret the Scriptures, the Scriptures begin to interpret us. We are brought face to face with our sin as it’s exposed by the Word. And in a sense, our conscience is awakened.
In fact, think of revival as happening in three parts. #1, there is the preaching and hearing of the Word of God. We saw that in chapter 8. #2, there is sorrow for sin and repentance. We’ll see that in chapter 9 this morning. And #3, there is a recommitment or renewing of the covenant. And we’ll see that next week.